This post is going to have a lot more in the way of my personal opinion than most of the others. The conclusions I am going to be expressing here are mostly from a study that I did on the hardening of the heart, which you can find HERE.
The Purpose of Adventism
When I was growing up I had a very insightful Sabbath School teacher. He was and probably still is a very brilliant man. What I respected about him is that you could open up to any random book of the Bible and he could give you the historical context, insight into the congregation that the letter was addressed to, and provide perspective on each verse you came across. He could also handle very well all of those pesky verses that contradicted my beliefs. I realize the latter isn’t a good thing but at the time I appreciated it a lot.
Some time just before or during my High School years it came out that this Sabbath School teacher had sexually abused the pastors very young female grandchildren. We all got a letter from the conference in the mail informing us. This also happened to be occurring around the time that the issues in the Roman Catholic Church were coming to light. It was a big deal.
My dad was a big advocate of Church discipline in response to this. He didn’t want the Sabbath school teacher to be ex-communicated or something. I think the aim was for him to be sent to another congregation and leave it at that. This isn’t what happened though, instead the Church kicked out the pastor whose grand kids were abused. That’s how I remember it anyways, maybe they simply graciously asked him to retire and to stop complaining. I don’t know.
I could give you a few other stories like these, some of them directly impacting my family as I was growing up. Interestingly enough none of these are the reason that I left. When someone does leave Adventism though it’s usually assumed that something horrible happened to motivate their departure.
In many cases this is true. I’ve seen a lot of people leave Adventism out of despair, triggered by some kind of an event. This is common enough that when you do tell people you left they will ask “what did they do to you?”. This is because they too have heard stories like the one above before and have worried about the people that left over them.
I believe that this is actually the purpose of Adventism. This is the end game. The cherry on top.
The goal the devil had in mind when he birthed this monstrosity was to scare Christians out of the Church with false doctrine and a false gospel, bury them in the law, hide the gospel, and then let their wicked flesh play out. Each generation more and more fall away, wash rinse repeat. People leaving into full fledged unbelief isn’t an accident it’s the reason the denomination exists.
Why would God allow that?
While I would never claim that God is the author of sin, he certainly does allow it. He even righteously judges people and nations with impenitence and a hardened heart so that they may believe a lie and go to hell.
“And he said, ‘I will go out, and will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ And he said, ‘You are to entice him, and you shall succeed; go out and do so.’ Then a spirit came forward and stood before the LORD, saying, ‘I will entice him.’ And the LORD said to him, ‘By what means?’ And the LORD said, ‘Who will entice Ahab the king of Israel, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?’ And one said one thing, and another said another. And Micaiah said, “Therefore hear the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing on his right hand and on his left. Now therefore behold, the LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouth of these your prophets. The LORD has declared disaster concerning you.” 2 Chronicles 18:18-22
“The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12
“But the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he did not listen to them, as the LORD had spoken to Moses.” Exodus 9:12
Keep in mind I am not seeking to systematize the above verses in this post. I am not going to speculate when and how a heart is hardened into unbelief by God. I am only asserting that based on the Bible it happens, and then when it does happen it is done in the form of a judgment.
How am I relating this to Adventism though?
Jesus promised that the time would be shortened for the sake of the elect, and it is promised that a delusion would be sent to our earth. The Bible also speaks of a great falling away.
I don’t know if what we are seeing in this age we live in is that event, it’s impossible to tell as the texts don’t give a lot of details. But even if we are not living in “THE” great apostasy I do believe it’s perfectly rational to assert that we are living in “A” great apostasy as it can be observed that many delusions have gone out into the world.
Adventism is one of those. You have a cult teaching heresy, burying people in the law, offering no gospel, and then abusing people as a result. And when people leave over the inevitable abuse they have nowhere to go because Sunday is the mark of the beast. Which is why many who leave Adventism end up agnostics and atheists, that’s the only recourse they really have. It’s no gospel but it’s a lot lighter on the law.
The Devil knows his time is short so he is going to drag all that he is permitted to on his way to hell. Adventism is simply one of the systems he has used for over a century to deceive myself, my family, generations that came before, and those in the future. Adventism isn’t the first or only institution to do this either.
We are being systematically lied to and deceived over the millennia. This doesn’t stop with Adventism. I would toss Latter Day Saints and Jehovah’s Witnesses in that category as well. Doesn’t stop with them either; the Gnostics, Judaizes, Muslims, Hebrew Roots, New Apostolic Reformation, Prosperity Gospel, you name it. The fact that we farm out cults like nobody else is actually one of the things about being an American that I’m not proud of.
Adventism just happens to be the one that effected me the most. When you leave a cult or a cultic way of thinking and get saved by Jesus among other things you kind of go through this “rage stage” for a while. The realization that you and those you care for have been systematically lied to by people that knew they were wrong when they did it is a hard pill to swallow. The only solution for this is gospel and lots of it. You, your sins, and all this world dies at the foot of the cross.
Some more good news is that this rage stage passes in time. If you kinda feel like the guy in the picture below for a while though, know that you’re not the only one who has gone through that.